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Reunion Sprouts From a Family Tree

April 12, 1985|Kathleen Hendrix

When Doris Redman's interest in geneology led her down a series of blind alleys in tracing her own family, she turned to her husband Marshall's. She had in mind, she said recently, a nice little chart: "It snowballed."

the volume will gather in Los Angeles, arriving from New York, Florida, Colorado, Chicago and Seattle, for a series of celebrations that will be part family reunion and part family introduction.

With help from her 90-year-old mother-in-law, Anna, a cousin in Chicago, who Redman sent to a Jewish cemetery sleuthing and photographing, and historical records kept by the Mormon Church, Redman started tracing the family of her deceased father-in-law Sam. His father, Gadalia, came from a family of 10 children who grew up in the tiny village of Ladyzhinka outside Kiev in the Ukraine. The name was Nedekolin then, meaning "not even a fence post," indicating their poverty, Redman has learned.

Seven of those 10 children emigrated one-by-one to America in the 1860s, and among the stories about the name change, the most popular seems to be that Aaron, eldest brother of Gadalia, had a red beard that led Immigration officials to the name Redman.

When the clan gathers at the Beverly Hilton for a get-acquainted cocktail party next week, they will be issued color-coded ribbons to designate the particular branch of the family each is descended from. In some instances, people will wear two ribbons, since, Redman explained, older relatives kept telling her, "Oh, they're related two ways," meaning some of the cousins intermarried.

At the Redman banquet those under 40 will be seated together, she said, since the point is to keep the family connected now that they have found each other. She said one reply, from a newly found family member to whom she had written, clarified the reason she had done this in the first place. The cousin wrote: "I had always heard stories about my grandfather Aaron and his red beard, but I never knew I had roots until I got your letter."

Stop the Torture

"Stop Torture. We can. We must." That's the message carried on five billboards put up by Amnesty International in Los Angeles this month on sites donated by Foster and Kleiser. Depending on their effectiveness here and in San Francisco, where another five have gone up, the billboards may go national, David Hinkley, who directs the local AI chapter, said recently.

They are a part of Amnesty International's general campaign to stop torture, now in its second year, Hinkley said, and "signal an escalation of efforts."

It is hoped that the billboards, which he said were the idea of staff member Judy Martinez, will reach new people in traffic-heavy Los Angeles.

"We really need people's help. We're reaching out in every way. The word is out and we want to keep it in front of people," Hinkley said, explaining that unlike AI's usual efforts to intervene on behalf on one individual, usually a political prisoner of conscience, this campaign to stop torture in general depends on a massive reaction.

"(Torture) is still going on in epidemic proportions," he said. "We have begun to make a dent. A UN convention against torture was passed last month, (declaring torturers under universal jurisdiction, like pirates and slave traders, with no safe haven). And the U.S. has had remarkable success passing legislation spearheaded by former Sen. (Charles) Percy directing our embassies to intervene, attend trials, make reports . . . . The clearest way we'll be able to judge if anything is being done legislatively or administratively about torture is if 'incommunicado detention,' which is when most torturing is done, is discontinued. If we can get any government in the world to abolish that, we'll be on our way."

Friends for the Abbey

Dolores Hope, former Gov. Edmund (Pat) Brown and the Rev. Donald Merrifield, S.J., chancellor of Loyola Marymount, got together for lunch recently to plan the workings of their new committee, the American Friends of the Dormition Abbey. The abbey is a Benedictine monastery on Mt. Zion in Jerusalem, traditionally regarded as the site of the Last Supper and the place where Mary, the mother of Jesus, died.

The American Friends, Merrifield said after the luncheon, will be raising funds for the construction of the American Study Center for Peace and Interfaith Dialogue. To date, the monks, who have been at the Abbey since 1906, have been operating orphanages, hospitals and centers for the handicapped and providing social services to the poor.

The new center, to be built adjacent to the abbey, will bring together European and American Christian theologians for dialogue with Jewish theologians. It also will serve as an ecumenical and interfaith study center offering courses for students, and sponsor projects that promote peace.

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